Innovate UK

Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency and the commitment to our partnership funding is part of the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund – a £20 million programme led by UK Research and Innovation to enable the UK to lead the fight against waste, catalyse new ideas and quickly get products and services to market.  There are two parts of our funding partnership: 

1. Ocean Plastics Accelerator Competition: The first £2M (split 50:50 between grants and investment) will be distributed via an open call for innovation launching from 2nd January 2019 where applications will be selected by Innovate UK.
a. See full details of the call here

2. UKRI-SOV Plastics Innovation and Investment Sub-Fund: The second £4M forms a dedicated fund that will be deployed by Sky Ocean Ventures on an “invitation-only” basis over the next 3 years as a part of our ongoing impact-investment approach, using Sky’s original £25M commitment to the crisis.  We will work directly with companies on this to complete a grant application and provide support with our impact investment model.  Total eligible project costs can be between £100,000 and £600,000, but we may invest more.  Please do contact us for more details on this.

The partnership is aligned with our approach covering what we see as the most exciting and sustainable areas of innovation that can solve the ocean plastic crisis. 

We are looking for businesses creating:

-   material innovations and new design methodologies that can create sustainable alternatives to traditional plastics;
-   technology-enabled innovations which encourage positive consumer behavior in the home and business actions at scale to reduce the consumption and resultant waste of plastics; and
-   improvements in the sorting, collection, recycling, clean-up and treatment of waste plastics, including their conversion to new resources to foster a more circular economy.

“Our aim is to enable entrepreneurs to support innovative new ideas at the earliest stages with both investment and mentorship. We’re delighted this partnership will enable us to work directly with UK start-ups who share our mission. We will use the reach and voice of Sky’s platforms to highlight their solutions and help consumers change behaviours.”  Fred Michel, Group Director, Impact Investment and Ocean Ventures

“Plastic waste has created a crisis that needs a global resolution. We need businesses, investors, government and researchers pulling in the same direction, creating workable solutions that people will be able to see on the shelves before it’s too late. That’s what this tie-up between UK Research and Innovation and Sky Ocean Ventures will achieve and help those innovative UK companies become global successes into the bargain.”  Ian Campbell, Executive Chair of Innovate UK